Urban planning guidelines forbid the construction of “bizarre” and “odd-shaped” buildings that are devoid of character or cultural heritage. On the Block is a monthly series where we gather opinions on some of the unusual architecture that remains, from both a design and civilian viewpoint.
Beijing Television Cultural Center, Jintaixizhao
Located in the heart of the CBD, the Television Cultural Center (TVCC) is notable for its striking design and irregular lines. Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren of The Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), TVCC has multiple functions including a hotel, 1,500-seat theater and recording studio. Construction of the 34-story building was meant to finish in 2009, but a fire caused by Lantern Festival fireworks damaged the structure, delaying its completion. Although overshadowed – quite literally – by its more photographed sibling and neighbor, the CCTV Headquarters, TVCC stands on its own as a resilient and recognizable landmark.
The Residents’ View
It’s difficult to find any fans of TVCC in the vicinity. We meet Li at a bus stop near Jintaixizhao subway station. “It looks kind of funny,” she says. “I don’t like it that much.” A woman outside the station, who asks not to be named, bluntly agrees: “It doesn’t look good.”
The Architect’s View
According to project architect at JOssIN Design Silvio Azorin: “It’s impossible to talk about the TVCC building without talking about the CCTV [Headquarters]. OMA created a series of contrasts between both buildings that give them a unique identity, as well as certain similarities that, when observed, produce an amazing combination. Beside the robustness and hardness of the geometry of the CCTV building, TVCC presents more delicate and attractive lines. TVCC starts with a metallic structure born in the floor. Without losing its continuity, it is folded, and ends up forming this irregular and aggressive profile. The south facade is [bent inwards] at different levels, which creates a beautiful texture. “From certain vantage points, TVCC is visible through the undercroft or ‘window’ made by CCTV. Although both buildings are different in form and architectural detailing, there remains a strong sense of identity in the ensemble.”